If you have COPD or another breathing problem, you might find yourself getting cold when everyone else is hot, or getting numbness in your hands, feet, or other parts of your body in your extremities. These are classic signs of poor circulation, but if you haven't been specifically diagnosed with this by your doctor, you will need to pay him or her a visit, since these symptoms can also be signs of other health problems, as well.
Even mild COPD can affect your blood circulation, so if you are not already on oxygen therapy, your doctor might decide that this will help your COPD, and your poor circulation at the same time, instead of putting you on more drugs. Keep in mind that when oxygen is prescribed to you by a doctor, it is considered a drug, even though it doesn't bring with it the side effects of other medications. You have to treat it just like a prescribed medication, which means not changing the flow of the oxygen yourself.
What will happen if I have bad circulation?
Poor circulation can cause serious problems. Your body won't be able to heal a wound because there aren't enough nutrients and oxygen reaching the various cells in all the areas of the body. If you don't have enough of the right gases flowing your blood vessels, any plaque in your veins will have more of an opportunity to causes blockages. When this happens, it can lead to immobility and even the loss of limbs if it's not treated quickly and properly.
When you can get enough oxygen to your cells, and the cells can release their CO2 and move it out through the bloodstream, your extremities, as well as the rest of your body, will get back to their regular functions. You will be able to see that you are much more energetic and you can think clearly, due to the increased oxygen flow to your brain. With that energy and increased supply of oxygen to your muscles, you will be able to get more physical activity, which is also necessary for continued blood circulation throughout the body.
Where do I start with oxygen therapy to help improve my circulation?
Your doctor will decide on the flow of oxygen you will need to help improve your circulation. Adding oxygen while you are exercising might be ideal, and he or she might recommend that you do this. To make this easier, a good portable oxygen concentrator would be ideal, since you can wear it on your back while you are on the treadmill or on a stationary bike, and some are so light that you will get used to them quickly. You will need the prescription from your doctor before you can buy an oxygen concentrator.
While you are exercising, you will need to concentrate on breathing normally and not breathing too deep or too shallow. Tell your doctor immediately if you have any feelings of dizziness or if you start to feel lightheaded.